Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has announced that his party will approach the Supreme Court on Friday (today) against the Lahore High Court’s decision to conduct Punjab chief minister’s election again, saying that free and fair elections cannot be held with Hamza Shehbaz in the chair.
PML-N’s Hamza was “elected” as the new Punjab chief minister on April 16, securing 197 votes while his rival candidate PML-Q Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi declared the polls “illegal”.
Later, the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified 25 PTI MPAs for deviating from party policy, which is against the Constitution, and voting in favour of Hamza.
In a video message on Thursday, former premier Imran took exception to the LHC’s decision of holding the Punjab CM’s re-election within 24 hours, saying that six of his party’s MPAs had gone to perform Hajj and within 24 hours, even people from Rajanpur and far-flung areas will not be able to make it in time. “So, free and fair elections cannot be held,” he added.
After Humza’s election as the CM, he said, the ECP was supposed to notify the people on five reserved seats, who had been disqualified, but the commission made a very “unconstitutional decision”, saying that it cannot happen until by-elections were conducted. After that, “we went to the high court and now the decision has come”. “The LHC rejected the ECP’s decision … it was publically announced that members be notified on five reserved seats”, but that had not yet happened, which meant that they would not be able to vote.
“And now 20 by-elections are being conducted, which means that they will also not be able to vote.”
Another thing, he said, elections will be held “under Hamza”. “He will not allow free and fair elections to take place.” He accused Hamza of trying to influence the elections by using the police, local administration and the ECP.
“When the LHC has said that Hamza’s election was unconstitutional, then how can he remain the chief minister … under which law,” Imran questioned, adding that they were going to the SC to seek clarification on the matter.
Imran claimed that conducting the chief minister’s re-election with Hamza in the chair would increase the political turmoil in the country, especially Punjab.
He said, “We know that the Sharif family cannot do anything honestly. Whatever they have done, the Sharif family, they have not done fairly, be it business or elections.
On Thursday, the LHC ordered the presiding officer, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, to recount votes for the election held for the chief minister’s slot on April 16 – excluding the 25 votes of the defecting PTI members.
The session for this purpose would resume on Friday (today) at 4pm.